Definition: Marketing refers to a systematic process for creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging the offering, having value to the customers and also for building and managing the strong relationship with the customers and suppliers which is profitable to the organization and stakeholders as well.
The conventional means of understanding the basic components of Marketing is through the 4P’s, also called as Marketing Mix. This means that the overall marketing plan is a combination of these elements:
- Product: Identifying the needs of the customers and gathering information for the same to decide the product to be developed which matches consumers requirement and expectations. (Creation of Offering)
- Price: Determining the price at which the product to be offered for sale at different quantities. (Exchange)
- Place: Choosing the optimum channel of distribution, to reach the maximum customers. (Delivery)
- Promotion: Deciding the best promotional strategy and implementing the same, to grab the attention of the customers as well as to persuade them to buy the product or service. (Communication)
Marketing is concerned with, drawing the attention of the target audience towards the products and services, through various promotional strategies, so as to convert the audience into consumers. In finer terms, marketing is the activity of winning the interest of the audience, in such a way that they choose the company’s products over all the other products available.
Marketing is not just an ad, but it is much more than that. It is the market researching, it is product development, it is the press release, it is the celebrity endorsement, it is the social media promotion, it is the striking tagline, it is the product launch, it is the actual selling, it is the selection of distribution channel, it is the unforgettable packaging, it the time-bound delivery, it is customer satisfaction, it is the birthday/anniversary message to clients and so on.
Moreover, marketers not just market goods and services but events, experiences, persons, properties, information, ideas, experiences and organizations are also marketed.
What is Market?
A market is a place where buyers, sellers, agents, resellers, and intermediaries meet to enter into a transaction which involves the exchange of goods and services for the price.
Who is Marketer?
‘Marketer’ refers to a person or organization which looks for a response, in the form of attention, interest, purchase, vote, etc. from the other party, called as a prospect (audience).
Functions of Marketing
- Market research: Market research is performed to gather relevant information as to the customer needs and expectations about the product and service so that decisions can be taken accordingly. It is helpful in analysing the company’s strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats.
- Marketing Planning: An appropriate marketing plan is the first step to the success of the company’s offering. In this, the company defines the marketing objectives and decides the strategies to achieve them effectively.
- Product Development: Product design and development is the actual creation of the product. A good product will help the market to attract more and more customers, and also give a competitive advantage to the company.
- Standardization and Grading: Standardization implies creating products of the set standards and predetermined specifications, which ensures uniformity and consistency in the company’s products, price and packaging. On the other hand, grading involves classifying the product into a specific group, as per its features, like size, quality, target audience, etc.
- Packaging and Labelling: Packaging is all about designing the package for the product to attract customers, as well as to protect and wrap the product. Conversely, Labeling is designing of a label which is placed on the package, container and product itself. It contains information about the product.
- Branding: The process of endowing a brand name to a product, which helps the target audience to identify the manufacturer. It helps in creating product differentiation.
- Promotion: Promotion refers to promote the product, i.e. to create awareness or to inform the customers about the product or service. Advertising, personal selling, public relations, direct marketing and sales promotion are the four methods of promotion, called as promotion mix.
- Pricing: Pricing means the determination of the price at which different quantities of the product will be sold at the market place, It is the amount which the customers have to spend to get the company’s product.
- Distribution: Distribution of the products and services to consumers is also one of the functions of marketing. The marketing manager has to take an important decision as to the selection of the channel of distribution and also with respect to the physical movement of the products, such as management of the inventory, warehousing, storage, transportation, etc.
- Sales: Sales implies actual selling of the goods and services to the consumer, in a given period of time. It involves the change in possession from the seller to the buyer.
- After-Sales Service: Marketing function does not end with the sales, in fact after-sales service also plays an important role in increasing the customer base. It refers to the services provided to the customers after the product has been sold.
In a nutshell, we can say that marketing is whatever the company does to gain and retain customers, for the long term. It is the process of deciding what the company will offer, to whom it will offer, when it will offer, how it will offer and at what price it will be offered.